May 16 is the anniversary of the first Academy Awards ceremony. A ticket to that 1929 gala cost a whopping five dollars, some 200 people attended and the entire shebang was over in 15 minutes.
But mighty oaks from small acorns grow. So to mark the occasion, we're suggesting five Make It Montco moments that will make you feel like Hollywood royalty. And what would an Oscar night be without paparazzi? Why not snap your own pictures of you and the family out and about, tag them #MakeItMontco and share on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest pages.
Breaking Away (1979),
the tale of a high school graduate who dreams of being an Italian
racing cyclist, won an Oscar for its screenplay. Bike riders with
similar dreams can take part in National Bike to Work Day on May 16. The event encourages good health and supports environmentalism.
Bike shops across Montgomery County are supporting the idea of commuting on two wheels, including Tri County Bicycles in Pottstown. Senior Owner John DiRenzo administers the borough's Bike Share Program, where riders can access a bike for free. "If they're close enough, people can come here and get a bike to ride to work," DiRenzo says. "Or they can come on their lunch and get some great exercise. We have plenty of people who walk here from offices nearby, borrow a bike, get something to eat, return the bike and go back to work. It's a great in the middle of the day." If you want a scenic MakeItMontco route on your way home, point the handlebars to the Schuylkill River Trail or the Perkiomen Trail.
Maverick (1994) was a big-screen adaptation of a TV western starring Oscar-winner Jodie Foster. The band "The Mavericks" are in concert at the Keswick Theatre on May 16. This country-steeped garage band with Cuban-American lead singer Raul Malo emerged from Miami with a debut that was equal parts innocence, intensity and vintage. Their polyrhythmic sound has given the world "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down," "Here Comes the Rain" and "Dance the Night Away."
It's been a while since a comedy won Best Picture (that would be American Beauty, 1999), but comedy still plays well throughout Montco. See it the way it was meant to be seen, live and onstage, on May 17 at The Colonial Theatre. The One Night Only Comedy & Variety Festival features touring stand-ups and variety performers, as seen on America's Got Talent, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and thousands of stages around the globe.
The very first Best Picture winner was Wings (1927). You can try out your own pair of wings at the airplane rides, on May 17-18 at Heritage Field, Pottstown. Pricing is based on weight, at 20 cents per pound ($10 minimum; $30 maximum) and flights are weather permitting, but the thrill of gliding above Montgomery County can't be beat. The event is sponsored by The Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of The Ninety-Nines (International Organization of Women Pilots).
The Old Mill is an animated short film that won the Disney Studios an Oscar in 1938. The Evans-Mumbower Mill in Ambler is open for touring on May 18, giving visitors a chance to learn about the history of this crucial farm service on the Wissahickon Creek. The present Evans-Mumbower Mill dates to the early 1800s, but records indicate a saw mill and fulling mill operation as far back as 1745. Originally powered by a water wheel, in later years it was run by a steam or gasoline engine. The afternoon's presentation also includes a demonstration of the art of sheep shearing. The entire program is sponsored by the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association.
Grand Hotel (1932) won Best Picture for its multifaceted storyline unfolding in a luxurious Berlin accommodation. Montgomery County has a number of "grand hotels" where visitors can feel like Hollywood royalty. See our website for suggestions.
The menu that May 1929 Academy Award evening was a simple Filet of Sole and Half-Broiled Chicken on Toast. Local menus have evolved considerably, and if you want the full star treatment, the MakeItMontco dining scene is a well-known featured attraction. Pacific Prime, for example, consistently gets two thumbs up.